With legal recourse being more accessible than ever, more and more employees are finding themselves in a position where they have to negotiate some kind of settlement agreement with their employers. If you’ve been offered one, and you’re pretty inexperienced with these kinds of negotiations, then naturally you may be wondering what the next step is. If you feel you’re being sold short, or you’ve got some wiggling room for getting more from your employer, here are some big mistakes to avoid.
Not Planning Ahead
If your boss calls you into a room, sits you down, and offers you a pre-planned settlement agreement, then you may feel pressured to give them an answer immediately. If you know this situation is coming up, then I advise you to ask for a few more days to mull it over. Official guidelines recommend that employers give their employees several days to consider a settlement offer. This may not be a legal requirement, but it’s something all responsible employers will take into account. Give careful thought to what you actually want to get out of the settlement, along with the best and worst possible ways it can play out. You may be able to get much more out of the settlement than you first thought, or experience some delays and have to look into settlement advance loans.
Failing to Consider the Employer’s Incentive
Before you walk into your boss’s office and ask for more on your settlement agreement, consider why they should give you more. Obviously, no employer is going to want to pay out any more of a settlement than they have to, so you’re going to have to make some smart moves to set the gears in motion. Let’s say that you refused the original settlement. You could then attend an employment tribunal where you aggressively seek compensation. In this case, the main incentive for your employer to pay you more is that in return, you’ll agree not to pursue any other claims. Naturally, your employer is also going to be somewhat concerned about the confidentiality of the proceedings. With most settlement agreements, there’ll be a clause requiring you not to disclose the terms on which your employment is ending. This can also be leveraged to secure a more favorable settlement.
Damaging Good Will
If you’re in a genuine redundancy situation, and your employer has no choice other than terminating your employment, then you may not have much leeway for convincing your employer to pay a larger settlement. Having said that, you may be able to persuade your employer to pay you more on the basis of good will. These kinds of grounds could be based in factors which won’t come up in an employment tribunal. You might be able to leverage the fact that you’re going to be in a very difficult situation after losing your job, evidence that you’ve contributed a lot to the business over the years, or even personal sacrifices you’ve had to make for the greater good of the company. Good will is more important than you think, so don’t tarnish it!